In March 2023, EDF Renewables confirmed it had energised three new solar farms in Ireland. Image: EDF Renewables.

Distribution System Operator (DSO) ESB Networks yesterday (26 February) confirmed it has connected 1GW of solar photovoltaics (PV) to Ireland’s electricity network.

According to the DSO, this figure comprises 500MW of utility-scale solar connections – including 369MW connected to the transmission system, which is managed by EirGrid – 300MW of microgeneration, such as rooftop solar, and 200MW of non-exporting solar generation.

Ireland’s minister for climate, Eamon Ryan, praised the country’s “rooftop revolution”, which saw solar panels installed on more than 82,000 of Ireland’s rooftops.

“This rapid scale-up in micro- and small-scale generation has been mirrored in the rapid growth in the connection of utility-scale solar farms,” continued Ryan.

“Today’s announcement marks an important milestone in Ireland’s journey to 8GW of solar connections by 2030 and shows that even in ‘cloudy Ireland’ we can harness our homegrown green resources to power homes and businesses.”

Nicholas Tarrant, Managing Director of ESB Networks added: “Enabling the connection of 1,000 MW of clean solar power onto Ireland’s electricity network is a significant collective achievement for ESB Networks, our solar industry partners and indeed the 82,000-strong cohort of microgeneration customers across Ireland. This scale of connections is underpinned by our sustained investment in a cleaner, more resilient, and more flexible electricity system. It is reducing our dependence on imported fossil fuels and ultimately delivering the electricity network for Ireland’s clean, electric future.”

The growth in solar will be vital to meet Ireland’s growing demand. According to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Electricity 2024 report, Ireland was one of the few countries to experience a demand increase in 2023, growing 2% year-on-year. wqq